The API Transparency Discussion Is Not Exclusively About Being Public Or Private
17 Feb 2016
When I talk about companies using APIs to be more transparent, one of the immediate comments I receive from folks is that "not everyone can be public by default". I agree with this situation, but I always counter with an introduction to the concept that transparency can be applied in strictly internal or partner situations as well--public is not the only type of transparency out there.
I am a big proponent of the public version of API driven transparency, but I also feel it can be applied within the firewall, as well as on the open web. Simple developer portals, with a quality selection of valuable APIs, up to date interactive documentation, and other resources, available at a known, yet secured location, can go a long way to stimulate integration--both human (team) and system. Self-service access to API design, definitions, deployment, management, testing, and other life cycle strategies, as well as the API resources can go a long way to establish a rich environment for collaboration, reuse, and consistency in API strategy across an organization.
The benefits of internal and partner layers approaches to transparency, as well as public transparency helps break down silos. Think about the separations between some of the other groups in your organization, and possibly with your leadership up the ladder. Would it help if the road map for your team was out in the open for anyone within your company to follow? Would conversations around outages and system stability be more productive if they included a wider group--maybe preventing some of the micro aggression that occur behind closed doors?
There are many, many ways API can bring transparency to your organization, way before you ever consider doing it publicly. When I say API, this starts with the technical endpoints, but a modern API conversation ALWAYS involves documentation, code, communications, and feedback loops. The Amazon Web Services family of APIs isn't just purely about the compute and storage endpoints. It is also about the self-service documentation, videos, tutorials, case studies, the 24/7 community forums, and paid tiers of premium support, that makes it all go round.
How could API driven transparency break down the silos in your organization, and help things operate a little more efficiently?